Skip to main content

tv   The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  August 24, 2011 5:00pm-7:00pm EDT

5:00 pm
>> for more on the development out of tripoli and for the breaking news on hurricane irene, joe johns in for wolf blitzer. "the situation room" starts right now. happening now, hurricane irene is bearing down on the bahamas. the east coast is next. this hour a live report on the monstrous storm and a new forecast on where and when it will hit the u.s. plus a few dozen journalists held hostage by pro-gadhafi forces in libya are free tonight. late word of a new kidnapping and last ditch battles that may be linked to moammar gadhafi's escape plan. and cnn goes inside the virginia nuclear power plant near the epicenter of that historic quake. we have a lot of questions about nuclear safety and whether the east coast is prepared if another big one hits. wolf blitzer's off today. i'm joe johns. you're in "the situation room."
5:01 pm
hurricane irene is bearing town on the bahamas with winds of up to 120 miles an hour right now, and the national weather service warns this category 3 monster could be upgraded, upgraded to a category 4 tomorrow. that means irene could be capable of catastrophic damage when it slams the east coast in the days ahead. the storm has been pounding the turks and caicos and other islands and gaining strength along the way. there are reports of damage but so far no serious injuries. we do have a view from space that gives you an idea of just how big the storm is. it forms a cloud more than 800 miles across, and its powerful winds extend 200 miles from its center. now to irene's latest target, the bahamas. cnn's jim spellman is there. jim, what is the situation now?
5:02 pm
>> reporter: we're really just starting to get a taste of this, joe. the winds picking up hour by hour, getting some wind squalls here. this place has become all but a ghost town from the usual paradise. many of our viewers are familiar with paradise island and atlantis. all of the cruise ships have left port to get away from the storm, the airport closed earlier today. everyone who could get out got out, everyone who hasn't hunkered down in some of the big hotels here, which are fortified, hopefully built to deal with this sort of thing. if you haven't left yet you're riding this thing out, joe. >> jim, give me some sense, though, obviously tourists can go home, presumably, which doesn't sound real easy because it would probably be hard to get a plane, right? >> reporter: yeah, a lot of people were not able to get flights out.
5:03 pm
over the last few days people did know this was coming. a lot of people canceled their trip here and did arrange to get out on flights yesterday. not so lucky are some or most of the pa hbahamians that live her. the island is 20 miles long, there's nowhere to run. you're left with hunkering down, plywood, metals over your food and doors, prescription, water, hope for the best, this thing is huge. >> reporter: jim spellman stay in touch. we'll be watching. keep safe. the national hurricane center is issuing a new alert. let's go to severe weather expert chad myers in the cnn hurricane center in atlanta. what are you seeing? >> i see hurricane irene just pounding the southern islands of the bahamas right now. crooked island right there, long island just a little bit up from there. the crooked island just the
5:04 pm
center went straight over that. the problem is that there are storm surges 15 to 20 feet tall so over our head with water and the islands are only eight feet above sea level. they're a little bit higher not much but jim is right there, jim spellman is right in the way of this advancing hurricane. we have talked about the turn, the right turn that the storm is going to make. well sometimes storms are slow to make that forecast turn, and that's where it was. i drew kind of a straight line. that's where it was. follow the line. i don't see much of a turn yet and that forecast turn is the reason why you still have a cone of uncertainty. if it doesn't turn in time it will be on the left side of the cone, still not approaching florida but still close if it doesn't turn in time it could be over here somewhere. category 4, 135-mile-per-hour storm 50 miles offshore will make huge erosion problems, big
5:05 pm
waves onshore and flooding along the coast. take you farther to the north up through and over cape hatteras at 115 miles per hour and the outer banks get hid all the time, they're prepared for it. someplace not prepared, this is a category 2, 100 mile per hour potential storm, very, very close to the eastern sections of long island, also massachusetts, maybe even into maine, 100-mile-per-hour storm over long island, the damage could be catastrophic. >> as long as it stays out just over water we're not going to see really a decrease in strength any time soon, right? >> we'd love that big right turn right there, wouldn't we, away from boston, away from the cape. this line right there is the western periphery. it could sneak up the chesapeake to philadelphia or new york city. how about an 85-mile-per-hour sunday over the city? that wouldn't be pleasant.
5:06 pm
>> so we're basically telling people up the east coast to boston to be on your ps and qs and keep watching cnn? >> as we get closer to the time of arrival the cone will get smaller and smaller and smaller. in 12 hours we can tell you whether it's ten miles left or right. we're talking four days away. the cone is still pretty big. you cannot stop watching this storm. >> chad myers, thanks so much. we'll do that for sure. that's very good advice. the white house says there haven't been any discussions yet about changing the president's vacation plans because of the storm. he's due to stay on martha's vineyard until saturday but administration officials do say they're watching weather reports like the rest of us and tracking the progress of irene very closely. now to libya, where rebel fighters are trading artillery fire with pro-gadhafi forces near the tripoli airport, it's one of the last pockets of resist yans since rebels seized
5:07 pm
gadhafi's compound yesterday. the loyalists may be trying to clear a route for moammar gadhafi to escape. still no word on where gadhafi is. a libyan businessman now is offering a $2.5 million reward for anyone who captures or kills him. today, some of gadhafi's die-hard supporters released a few dozen international journalists held hostage at a tripoli hotel, including cnn's matthew chance. >> reporter: we've been living in fear for the past five days because we've been, you know, really being held against our will by these crazy gunmen who were in the lobby of our hotel wearing green bandanas waving gadhafi flags, wielding around their kalashnikov assault rifles, they've been very hostile towards us at times, they've often told us about how they think we're spies, nato spies and you know, set up, bent
5:08 pm
on destroying libya. one of them shouted up to me just yesterday we corralled ourselves away from them because we didn't want to make too much contact with them because there was so much hostility. one of them shouted up to me yesterday "i suppose you're happy now, aren't you, now that libyans are killing libyans," once again underlining the idea the gadhafi loyalists in control of the pocket of the rixos hotel really held the international media somehow responsible for this crisis in libya, so i can't tell you how pleased we all are and how relieved we all are, and how relieved our families will all be that we've finally managed to get out of that place. >> matthew will join us live in just a second, but we have late confirmation that four italian journalists have been kidnapped in libya presumably by pro-gadhafi forces. members of libya's transitional council are facing
5:09 pm
a monumental challenge, how they are going to deal with the chaos and rebuild the nation. i'll talk with the man who is in charge of iraq's messy aftermath, ambassador paul bremer. and some of washington, d.c.'s most famous tourist attractions damaged by yesterday's rare and powerful earthquake. we'll show you some of the hardest hit places. beach. ♪ this is our pool. ♪ our fireworks. ♪ and our slip and slide. you have your idea of summer fun, and we have ours. now during the summer event get an exceptionally engineered mercedes-benz for an exceptional price. but hurry, this offer ends august 31st.
5:10 pm
why did you buy my husband a falcon? thanks for the falcon. i didn't buy anyone a falcon. sure, you did. you saved us a lot of money on auto insurance. i used that money to buy a falcon. ergo, you bought me a falcon. i should've got a falcon. most people who switch to state farm save on average about $480. what they do with it, well, that's their business. oh, that explains a lot, actually. [ chuckles ] [ male announcer ] another reason people switch to state farm. aw, i could've gotten a falcon. [ male announcer ] get to a better state. [ falcon screeches ] two of the most important are energy security and economic growth.
5:11 pm
north america actually has one of the largest oil reserves in the world. a large part of that is oil sands. this resource has the ability to create hundreds of thousands of jobs. at our kearl project in canada, we'll be able to produce these oil sands with the same emissions as many other oils and that's a huge breakthrough. that's good for our country's energy security and our economy.
5:12 pm
let's bring in senior international correspondent matthew chance in tripoli. matthew you've had an extraordinarily long day and many of us at cnn, around the world quite frankly are very happy you're free after these days of trial and tribulation. could you give us some idea just how you got away? >> reporter: yes, it was, first of all i'm happy about it, too, and i'm happy for all of my colleagues that were with us in the rixos and their families as well who must be feeling exactly the same as i'm feeling this evening, which is ex-supretreme
5:13 pm
happy after this terrifying ordeal at times. we've come out of it, nobody's been injured, nobody was killed and it's been a really, really positive, positive outcome and so that's really fabulous. we couldn't be happier, all of us. >> again, though, you had a challenge five days you were being held against your will. you were not free to leave. at the end of the day, what was it that led you to freedom. was it a negotiation or something else? >> reporter: >> reporter: well it was, you know, i think it was this, joe, it was a realization on the part of our captors, because they were captors and we essentially were hostages. we felt like we were being held against our will, our right to leave had been removed from us but it was a realization amongst our captors that, you know, the world outside the perimeter of the hotel had changed
5:14 pm
dramatically. libya had changed dramatically. colonel gadhafi, the person who has ruled this country for the past 42 years was no longer giving the orders, no longer calling the shots and once they understood that, once these gunmen loyal to colonel gadhafi's regime understood that, there was a seen change in their attitude. at one point they actually surrendered their weapons to us and said "we're sorry, you're free to go." all we had to do was order some cars. the icrc, the international community of the red cross took us to safety behind the rebel lines, about 100 meters or so. it's interesting, joe, this is something the whole country is now, excuse me, undergoing. this sort of transition from this mind-set where colonel gadhafi was the rule, the law of the land, whatever he said was the law, to a country where that's no longer the case.
5:15 pm
people in tripoli tonight are celebrating their freedom. they're saying that. they're saying we are celebrating our freedom, and i think that was, in a small way that's what we experienced in the rixos with our captors, setting us free. >> tell me, if you know, what was the moment when your captors actually realized the seat change going on, if you will, in libya. i assume news travels slowly. it was very chaotic. at some point the news got to them. how did it get to them and when? >> reporter: well, i mean, i think at some point it just became undeniable that these changes had taken place. remember, all along, since this, these recent military developments started to happen and the rebels really started to push forward, the gadhafi regime has been in denial. it's been saying that these reports that everyone's been
5:16 pm
hearing about rebel advances are just not true. it's been telling people on state television, telling its loyal carders that in fact colonel gadhafi was on the right, that he was asserting his control back over the country that he had control of the crisis and he'd broken the backbone of the rebels but it obviously reached a point with all the celebrations in tripoli that that lie could no longer be perpetuated and once that sank in, i think to the people in the hotel who i think amongst the real die-hard loyalists of kernel gadhafi, once it sank in, there was no option but for them to surrender their weapons and essentially sink away. >> last question, i know it's probably been very difficult to gather information as it were where you were at this time, last night on this program we had a former d.c. delegate to congress named walter fauntroy,
5:17 pm
was apparently somehow stranded there and to our knowledge not able to travel. we have not heard from him today, i'm wondering if you know anything about his whereabouts. >> reporter: well, i know that he was in the envoy of cars led by the icrc that i was in when we left the rixos hotel. we didn't leave anything in the hotel. we made sure that we left all together as a group. we left in the same group that we'd been in inside that terrible situation, and walter fauntroy was in that group. he was in libya, of course, on a peace mission, had been here for some time to end the conflict here and the crisis, he was attempting to negotiate some kind of peaceful settlement. obviously it didn't come to anything, but you know, nevertheless, this is a man who found himself at the center of developments that were out of
5:18 pm
his control, and he ended up in a situation with the rest of us and he's quite an elderly gentleman as well, and he was sleeping on the floor, you know, eating the dried biscuits, you know, going without, you know, electricity and running water in the same way that all of us were and i think we all quite liked congressman walter fauntroy, so i hope, wish him well. i know he's okay. >> matthew chance, thanks so much for that. we are so glad that you're safe and we do want to hear more about this ordeal, and i'm sure we'll get an opportunity to hear from you again. thank you. jack cafferty now "the cafferty file." >> that's a special breed of cat for people like matthew chance. whatever awards for people like those that perform like matthew chance, they ought to stack them
5:19 pm
in front of his door and others like him. in an election where the republican candidate stands a chance in front of a weakened incumbent president so far it's a couple of intellectual lightweight lightweigh lightweights who won the show. two have been sucking up the media's attention mostly for saying stupid stuff. like bachmann's bringing gasoline down to $2 a gallon or rick perry saying ben bernanke's actions were treasonous or the former governor of alaska sarah palin will join the race as well. palin's people are pushing back against the speculation saying that anyone who claims to know about her plans is misleading the american people. palin has certainly been acting like a candidate now, hasn't she, showing up in iowa during the straw poll voting and the
5:20 pm
political video released ahead of the labor day speech scheduled to take place in iowa, if palin runs we'll have another mensa candidate to join bachmann and perry. there is no doubt this three-some will share the lion's share of the media coverage. there's ron paul who placed a close second in the poll. there's newt gingrich, love him or hate him he's a bright man. bachmann and that's the sad commentary on the state of politics. when it comes to presidential politics why does america seem to be allergic to brains? go to cnn.com/caffertyfile. i just tear myself up, joe, or
5:21 pm
go to the post on the facebook page. >> you got the whole studio laughing here, jack. do you really think the crazy talk is worse this year than previous election years? >> yeah, i mean we already watched sarah palin ruin whatever chance john mccain had four years ago and she's just beyond the pail. michele bachmann, $2 gas, perry -- there's a few more whack jobs out there. we had ckucinich. perry is out in some poll today getting 29% of the support in some poll, double-digit lead over bachmann, burying mitt romney and way in front. it's a little scary. it's early but scary. >> you bet, great. jack check back with you in a bit. some of the fiercest fighting we've seen in libya has
5:22 pm
taken place around the airport. do the rebels think gadhafi may be hiding somewhere in that area? and the republicans can't get enough of the newest gop presidential candidate, rick perry's strong start could force a change in strategy for his rivals. discover aveeno positively radiant tinted moisturizers with scientifically proven soy complex and natural minerals. give you sheer coverage instantly, then go on to even skin tone in four weeks. aveeno tinted moisturizers. and see katie before she goes home. [ male announcer ] with integrated healthcare solutions from dell, every file is where dr. ling needs it. now she can spend more time with patients and less time on paperwork. dell. the power to do more.
5:23 pm
5:24 pm
5:25 pm
the prospect of rebuilding libya is daunting, given the chaos right now and the fact that the country was ruled with an iron fist for 42 years. libyans may get some valuable lessons from what happened in iraq. we're joined now by the former u.s. administrator in iraq, paul
5:26 pm
bremer. thank you so much for coming in. >> nice to be with you. >> you watched what's happening in libya. what goes through your mind having been there shortly after saddam was, you know, out of power in iraq? >> well when you see what's happening in libya you see a lot of reflections of what happened in iraq, even in egypt and tunisia. basically there are three problems. rebuilding is not about mortar and bricks. it's about security first and political reform and then economic regeneration. security is job one and we're already seeing some of that now in tripoli, even with the fact that some of the journalists were taken prisoner by who knows who. >> what should the role of the west be? how much involvement should for example the united states have? >> well i think on the whole, the problems there really belong to the people in the region, the arabs and the african countries and the french and the italians and spanish are the largest trading partners with libya and the french and italians have
5:27 pm
been involved in the nato affair. i this i in the end if the libyans can't provide the security there and i think there is an open question whether they can, some kind of international stabilization force will have to go in, it seems to me those are the countries that should do the work. >> are there some lessons learned from iraq that can be applied to libya that you see right now? >> well the biggest one is security is job one, and really there are two questions. can the libyans do it themselves, and that has two aspects, can they agree, you have obviously different groups from the east and the west, and it's not at all clear, some of them are talking about dismantling militias. whose militia will get dismantled by whom. and do they have the competence, what will be the role, if any, of the old security forces, the army and in particular the police, and those kinds of questions are going to have to get answered by someone. >> because the question is what kinds of allegiances they
5:28 pm
actually had before the change in power. >> right. >> the other question of the chemical weapons. >> right. >> how should the united states approach that? how should western countries approach the issue of the stockpile of weapons of mass destruction? >> we need to be concerned about that and i'm sure that our intelligence services are paying close attention to where those are. frnl as a result of the overthrow of saddam, gadhafi had given up his nuclear program. as far as we know, what he has we know he has them, because he's used them, chemical weapons as has saddam hussein. they can be dangerous and if you have a situation where security runs out of control there's a real risk they fall into the hands of some really bad guys. >> there are people obviously running the infrastructure of the country, the government, the government services what have you who clearly had allegiances to gadhafi. should these people stay in
5:29 pm
place, should they be replaced? do you think the libyans will be able to put new people in who can do the same jobs with the same amount of expertise? >> it's going to be hard. the social rebuilding takes time. there will be some element in the new government obviously that's going to say we don't trust the senior members of the old government. that happened in iraq also. generally speaking anyway in iraq, senior civil servants who stayed on the jo be in the ministries turned out to be very competent. i don't know about libya to know. i guess listening to them talk they seem to be well educated. i suspect you have at the second or third level down in a lot of the ministries people who can run the ministries. >> assuming and this is a big assumption at this stage because no one knows, assuming the libyan leader gadhafi is taken into custody if you will, how do you think that gets handled that
5:30 pm
sends the proper message both internally and externally to other countries? >> well i think the key question to watch is whether he is subjected to some form of reasonable justice. in other words, he's not just killed. he is put before some kind of a tribunal which has some international respect. it could be a libyan tribunal. it was an iraqi tribunal which tried saddam hussein. the question of reconciliation after 42 years of dictatorship and saddam was in power more than 30 years the problem of reconciliation is an immediate problem but not one you can address immediately. emotions run very high. that takes you back to security again and it's got to be security or you start to get revenge killings. >> look out, will you, for me, just ten years and tell me what you see for libya, and along with that, give me some sense as to whether you think iraq was an easier or more difficult case
5:31 pm
than libya will be to sort of rebuild and stand up. >> it's hard to say whether it's going to be more difficult. there are some metrics where it's similar to iraq. it has oil. there are metrics where it's different. iraq had the advantage of having a well-educated middle class. saddam had mostly driven them out of the country. they have come back and they're at work. the iraqis have a long tra didin of good lawyers. they were able to write a progressive constitution. it's hard to tell with the libyans. i hope the next chapter of this movie is called "sleepless in damascus." >> i thank you so much. thank you ambassador bremer for coming. >> thank you. it's been almost ten years since the horrible day in september when the world came crashing down for so many of us with the anniversary of 9/11 only days away a family is finally getting some closure
5:32 pm
because of a remarkable announcement by new york officials. and pat summitt has never met an opponent she can't handle but the legendary basketball coach faces an unbeatable adversary, one that's within. [ man ] natural gas vehicles are used somewhere... but not in my neighborhood. ♪ [ female announcer ] we're throwing away misperceptions about natural gas vehicles. more of the vehicles that fuel our lives use clean american natural gas today. it costs about 40 percent less than gasoline, so why aren't we using it even more? start a conversation about using more natural gas vehicles in your community. all your important legal matters in just minutes.
5:33 pm
now it's quicker and easier for you to start your business... protect your family... and launch your dreams. at legalzoom.com we put the law on your side. vrrooom...vrrroooomm vroom vrrooom vrrroooomm vrrroooomm vrroom vrrrooomm vrrroooooooommmmmm mmmm mm.
5:34 pm
5:35 pm
. kate bolduan is monitoring old stories in "the situation room." >> two weeks shy of the tenth anniversary of 9/11, new york's examiner has identified the remains of ernest james. he worked in the world trade center's north tower. dna is still being tested from more than 6,400 samples of remains. a u.s. satellite project finds evidence of mass graves in
5:36 pm
sudan. the satellite sentinel project says it spotted eight mass graves since june. the evidence is said to include witness accounts and body bags. sudan's president rejects the findings and yesterday he called for a two-week cease-fire in the area. and on wall street, gold may be wearing off on investors. the price of the precious metal fell sharply by more than 5% today. gold futures for december delivery tumbled to $1,765 an ounce, that's still pretty high but that's the lowest level in a week. analysts say the drop is in reaction to a strong reported on durable goods. and a rite of passage for many presidential candidates will never be the same. joey vento, owner of the the famous philadelphia cheesesteak shop geno's died.
5:37 pm
in 2006 he posted a sign telling people to order in english, that led to a discrimination suit that was dismissed two years litter. vento was 71. >> pretty good spot. thanks, bonnie. some of the most iconic buildings here in washington took a serious hit in yesterday's earthquake. we'll show you the tourist attractions in need of repair. ♪
5:38 pm
[ male announcer ] they'll see you...before you see them. cops are cracking down on drinking and riding. drive sober, or get pulled over.
5:39 pm
5:40 pm
here in washington, d.c., the city's most iconic monument is closed indefinitely following yesterday's 5.8 magnitude earthquake. structural engineers today walked up the washington monument to assess the damages including mortar falling inside the observation area. no word on when they'll report on the extent of the damage. we're also getting a closer look at the national cathedral's significant damage, three of the four pinnacles broke off onto the roof which is luckily reef forced by concrete. another large piece crashed down on the lawn and now the hard work of rebuilding begins. >> this is the first time that, you know, we have these large amounts of sculpture that are
5:41 pm
damaged, and it is a business disconcerting to me and my colleagues who are the stone carvers, but we're going to put this together, back together the right way and respect the work of our forefathers of our forebearers, the stone carvers and masons who came before us. and over at the united states capitol complex no major taj to the congressional buildings but there are cracks inment of so the calls including a large one inside the house judiciary committee room. when the earthquake rocked the nation's capitol, some flaws in the emergency evacuation system were quite apparent. janet napolitano call those teachable moments. she spoke with homeland security correspondent jeanne meserve. >> evacuation from the district of columbia, the capital region when you let a lot of federal
5:42 pm
employees off around the same time we need to work on that, something we saw in february. there are plans when people know what the plans are, and they activate according to plan we're in good shape. when they don't know what the plan is that becomes a teachable problem. the other one is to really emphasize with people to try to reach out to your family, colleagues, whoever you need to reach by means other than cell phone so we don't dump everything on to the cell system simultaneously. >> not everybody has texting capablity, not everybody is on twitter. >> perhaps but it's very hard to build a system 100% when everyone is dumping on to it at the same time, trying to call on it all at the same time. so once that kind of got sorted out and it got sorted out relatively quickly yesterday, people were able to get back on their cell phones and again, one
5:43 pm
of the things that we have put into place through fema and other parts of the department is all the other social media, all the other ways that people can be in touch. >> humans were not the only ones who felt the quake ap. animal a. animals in washington visibly reacted to the quake. lemurs sounded the alarm 15 minutes before it happened. the apes climbed up a tall tree-like structure p the beaver retreated into the water and the f flamingos huddled together. the pandas did not appear to respond. supporters of the university of tennessee volunteers were stunned to hear this from head coach pat summitt. >> earlier this year the doctors
5:44 pm
at the ma you yo clinic diagnosed me with early onset dementia, alzheimer's type at the age of 59. i plan to continue to be your coach. >> the revelation shocked the entire sport and it brought attention to a disease that wreaks havoc in many people's lives. cnn chief medical correspondent sanjay gupta explains. >> there is a type of dementia known as early onset dementia, typically occurs in people under the age of 65, and that's why it's called early onset more associated with people who have a family history of this type of dementia. we know in her case, summitt's case her maternal grandmother suffered from this as well so at 59 it's not that unusual but across the board all dementias, only about 5% occur in people this young, typically you have memory loss, personality changes, people become withdrawn, some of the early signs. she was missing appointments,
5:45 pm
had to ask the same person, her son in this case the same question several times to get an answer, remember an answer, and that's what sort of tipped her off. when people go see the doctor, typically what happens is the doctor may first get a scan of the brain to make sure something else isn't happening, and then after that a series of cognitive exams, neurological exams that ultimately make the diagnosis of dementia. there are more advanced testings, pet scans, analysis of cerebral spinal fluid but at this point in time this diagnosis is usually made clinically through a series of exams. someone says i'm going to do mental exercises including reading before bed to try and stave this off and there's plenty of evidence to suggest that can help slow down the progression and there are also medications out there which can do the same but this is a progressive problem typically so what her memory is like now, what her function is like now may be different five to ten years from now, likely will be different. her judgment for the most part
5:46 pm
is different than her memory in terms of being a basketball coach, having the judgment to be able to do that should likely be intact than much longer. a lot of people asking about this basketball coach today. good luck to her. and back to you. the world has a new worry after the rebels toppled moammar gadhafi's regime. could libya's formidable arsenal of weapons fall into the wrong hands? and what can the u.s. and nato do to stop it from happening? but next in "strategy session" texas governor rick perry wants the republican presidential nomination. will his rivals now begin to mix it up on the campaign trail? it's time for a better snack. here, try this. it's yoplait greek. it has two times the protein of regular yogurt. you'll feel satisfied. [ female announcer ] yoplait greek. it is so good. it's pretty good! it is so good. wso to save money, i trained my dog and this cockatoo to play all the hits of the '80's
5:47 pm
woman: hit it, mr. butters. ♪ ♪ take on me... ♪ ....take on me ♪ take me on... anncr: there's an easier way to save. get online. go to geico.com get a quote. 15 minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance. met an old man at the top asked him if he had a secret and the old man stopped and thought and said: free 'cause that's how it ought to be my brother credit 'cause you'll need a loan for one thing or another score 'cause they break it down to one simple number that you can use dot to take a break because the name is kinda long com in honor of the internet that it's on put it all together at the end of the song it gives you freecreditscore-dot-com, and i'm gone... offer applies with enrollment in freecreditscore.com
5:48 pm
5:49 pm
texas governor rick perry's campaign for the republican nomination is starting with a bang. he declared only 11 days ago he's already the front-runner in a new poll. is that going to force the former top dog, mitt romney, to sort of take aim at perry? joining us now for a strategy session, donna brazile, democratic strategist and cnn contributor and republican strategist terry holt.
5:50 pm
just a snapshot after he gets in, and >> a great start for rick perry. if you could have written a script, you couldn't have written one with a better out come. we picked maximum impact and he took advantage of all that tension on the republican field to his benefit. i give him congratulations. what i found more surprising is remember when he was talking about 8, 10, 12 candidates? a couple are on the screen and the race is shaping up. >> for shows and demonstrates how fluid the republican race is. rick perry came in and more than half the country didn't know
5:51 pm
him. the intensity on republicans. again, another big factor, this race remains very, very fluid. it looks like a two-person race, romney versus perry and most are looking for the knight in shining armor and give them a more electable candidate who can defeat barack obama >> between romney and perry, you have a good representation of the broughtest part of the party. romney has run a well-financed campaign and they have a plan and stuck to it. this bodes well for an exciting contest. >> here had statements that were quite controversial and he is attacked for them including the chairman of the fed. why is that? a guy can get slammed for the
5:52 pm
kinds of words out of his mouth and find himself at the head of the pack? >> at this point his temperament and tell us and views, they are under scrutiny. what plays right now in the republican primary when they are vying for the tea party vote, i don't think he will get in trouble right now with those voters. perhaps in the general election, he would get in trouble and looking for somebody more moderate. >> speaking to that issue, i was talking to ron brownstein a little while ago. he told me if you look at the internals on this poll that suggest it's not just tea party support. he is getting support from people who actually believe that he really has a great economic program and demonstrated it in texas. he is sort of cutting across a wide swath for support here. >> that's a fact. he is getting more support from
5:53 pm
conservatives in the republican party while romney has a slight advantage with more independent or moderate republicans. the fact is his message got through. he wanted to talk about his economic story and that's what was covered. some of these so-called gaps that folks talked about were attention getters. some of the statements were music to the ears of some republican primary voter who is really think that washington has run amok. if you say something dramatic, you will get their attention. >> two words about texas. luck and location. luck in the fact that texas is blessed like louisiana with a lot of oil and gas reserves and that helped his economy through the worst recession and oil prices continue to go up and location. close to mexico and a huge population that is able to afford to live off minimum wage. we are a long way from the nomination. rick perhe an amazing 10 days. >> the other thing, can you say
5:54 pm
they are not gaps, but he is a shoot from the hip politician. can he continue to spit it out there and talk about cessation? >> i don't think he was spiting it out there and they have run a disciplined roll out. they wanted people's attention and they got it. ultimately and every candidate has to do this. barack obama did it well. you transition from candidate to a person that the people can see you being president. they can see you in the office. every candidate has to meet that. >> president obama gave him slack when he criticized him. he may not get a lot of slack if he criticizes mitt romney and other republicans. >> thank you for coming in and be safe if we get a hurricane. >> i know what to do. >> you got it. hurricane irene is bearing down and after hitting that chain, the u.s. could be next.
5:55 pm
while it's already a strong storm, meteorologists say we haven't seen anything yet. an east coast earthquake is scary enough. one that strikes a nuclear reactor? that will keep you up at night. we look at what the tremor did to one plant [ man ] behind every business is a "what if." what if we designed an electric motorcycle? what if we turned trash into surfboards? whatever your what if is, the new sprint biz 360 has custom solutions to make it happen,
5:56 pm
including mobile payment processing, instant hot spots, and powerful devices like the motorola photon 4g. so let's all keep asking the big what ifs. sprint business specialists can help you find the answers. sprint. america's favorite 4g network. trouble hearing on the phone? visit sprintrelay.com. yep...doh. [ boy ] slurpably fun and a good source of calcium. dads who get it, get go-gurt. like the trip around the world you never took. but there's one opportunity that's too good to miss. the lexus golden opportunity sales event. see your lexus dealer. the l i've tried it.ortunity sales event. but nothing's helped me beat my back pain. then i tried this. it's salonpas. this is the relief i've been looking for. salonpas has 2 powerful pain fighting ingredients that work for up to 12 hours.
5:57 pm
and my pharmacist told me it's the only otc pain patch approved for sale using the same rigorous clinical testing that's required for prescription pain medications. proven. powerful. safe. salonpas. [♪...] >> male announcer: now, for a limited time, your companion flies free, plus save up to 65%. call 1-800-sandals. conditions apply.
5:58 pm
jack joins us again with the cafferty file. >> the question is when it comes to presidential politics, why does america seem to be allergic to brains? bob writes the presidential kachbdidate with brains is more likely to speak the truth and people don't want to hear that. we would rather hear about $2 gas or the promise to create millions of jobs or no new taxes. i haven't heard plans about how the achievements will be accomplished. i'm not a fan of ron paul, but i give him credit for speaking about his views and look at the press coverage he gets. that doesn't make for good headlines. joe writes i think it's the other way around. people with brains are allergic to presidential politics. a lot of smart people could probably do a great job being president, however the circus they have to go through to get
5:59 pm
elected and the hoops they have to jump through prevent the best candidates from applying for the job. >> because america needs a laugh now more than ever and they never disappoint. if by allergic you mean this skin crawling, neck hair raising, creepy feeling i'm about to give birth through my abdomen to an alien blob of black gooey hatred, it's natural it react to the republicans's current offering of presidential candidates. it began with w. who was everyday in 2000 the country was divided. he spoke a language they could understand. he was simple and direct and shot from the hip. those of us who voted for obama were hoping for a reversal. we love the palins and the bachmans for their entertainment value. what we doend understand is they have vast followings of voters
6:00 pm
who are allergic. jeff writeseseseses with about a quarter of americans being college graduates that, i pan to the fears and religious beliefs of those who don't think. this coreedian said you can't fix stupid. if you want to read more about this, go to my blog and through our post on the situation's facebook page. joe? >> thanks, jack. >> you are in "the situation room." happening now, hugs and tears of rein libya. dozens of international journalists including our own matthew chance is now free after being held hostage for days with gadhafi forces. much of the u.s. east coast bracing for the wrath of irene. the monster category three hurricane forecast to hit just days from now and the damage could be devastating. chad meyers at the cnn hurricane headquarters tracking the storm's path. one day after being rocked by a rare earthquake, the whole area
6:01 pm
is feeling a big blow. ahead, we will show you the crack running deep through history right here in the nation's capital. welcome to our viewers in the united states and around the world. wolf blitzer is off today and i'm joe johns. you are in "the situation room" >> first to a dramatic turn of events in libya hitting close to home for all of us here at cnn. dozens of international journalists, matthew chance and team among them being released hours ago by gun-wielding gadhafi loyalists after being held against their will in a blacked out hotel for five days. many feared they wouldn't make it out alive. take a look at how it all unfolded. >> this crisis and we have been here for -- under these conditions for about five days now, unable to leave.
6:02 pm
corralled on the top floor of the hotel, about 35 juniorists together not knowing what's happening. we are hoping this episode in this conflict will come to an end with a kind of fizzle. everyone will drift away rather than with a bang. >> he has been trapped inside hotel. are with you us? tell us everything you know. >> reporter: a breaking new situation here. we have now left the compound of the hotel. all of the 36 journalists kept inside against their will in what we all consider all along to be a hostage crisis and a very complicated and frightining and a very emotional roller coaster of the past five days. i can tell you, we are sitting in vehicles of the international committee of the red cross. we managed to negotiate the red cross to get in through the check point of the gadhafi
6:03 pm
loyalists. >> fantastic of them to go through the check points and if they pick us up, we have to get another car as well. to cram all the journalists in. there were about seven or people in the small place i was in. we went through a rebel check point approximate all along it was about 150 meters down the road from the hotel. they hadn't approached the hotel because they didn't want a big gun fight to take place. all those journalists had been holed up through the course of the past five days. >> we are worried about being shot and happily, we weren't shot. we were not even injured. we were fine. >> you have been able to get out of the hotel. were you ever threatened or told to say or not say anything? give us a feel for what was being said to you and also a feel for your safety.
6:04 pm
>> it has been a nightmare for all of us. they have been hostile towards us at times they often told us about how they think we are spying and nato spies. we are set up destroying libya. i can't tell you how pleased we all are and how relieved we all are and how relieved our families will all be that we have -- >> we have been talking to you throughout the last couple of hours and you are now in front of the cameras and just describe for us, i know you have a crowd behind you. what's going on. >> reporter: they are celebrating their freedom. not celebrating my freedom, but libya's freedom obviously. i have been given loads of flowers. they realize that we have gone through this ordeal.
6:05 pm
being held captive in the hotel and it's only now that i can come out and speak to you because we have been set free. the whole country, the whole city is celebrating its freedom i feel a bit of a section with them. i am celebrating. >> we will be back live with an interview with matthew chance in a few minutes. meanwhile, there signs the international community is preparing to secure libya's stockpile of chemical weapons before they potentially wind up in the hands of terrorists. nato is just beginning high level internal discussions and our pentagon correspondent joins us with exclusive information on what could happen. barbara? >> joe, what we know and what is on the table is a growing concern about what to do about the tentons of mustard gas agent that is located south of tripoli in a place called rubta.
6:06 pm
officials believe it's secure, but nato with the united states has begun classified discussions about what to do if it is not secure any longer. their concern is not so much an attack using this material. it's not weaponized. it would be tough to put into attack mode. what if the facility suddenly if the color disappears and whoever is guarding it sells it out the backdoor, if you will to either terrorists or third parties. what if it just goes walking away? what is happening is they are looking right now at what kind of security force, what kind of technical experts and surveillance would have to be put in place if there is a sense that it's no longer secure. right now it is being watched 24-7 by intelligence assets. that means satellites, aircraft and personnel watching it to see that it remains secure and
6:07 pm
remains in place. this is the first sign we have that they are looking at a potential security force. we are told no use troops on the ground, but a force from nato countries, not nato itself. european or arab countries that contribute the force to go there and make sure this stuff remains secure. joe? >> if i understand your reporting correctly, we have intelligence assets watching the stuff, but if somebody were to take it out the backdoor, nobody would intervene? >> that's a key question. if this surveillance capability which we understand to be satellites and aircraft suddenly saw things moving around, could anybody get to it fast enough to keep it from moving around? the u.s. government and nato have talked extensively to maybing countries about making
6:08 pm
sure that illisit materials do not leave libya. this is not just the mustard gas, but the thousands of weapons, especially shoulder-fired anti-aircraft weapons and missiles and artillery and rockets. libya is armed to the t. with no functioning government in place, the concern is all of this stuff could start moving. >> barbara star with a very scary story there. a tricky situation that the whole world will be watching with the chemical weapons. thanks for the report. >> cnn international correspondent matthew chance joining us live from tripoli. we were waiting for to you get wired up. i know it has been a very long day for you. just want to continue our conversation about the people who were holding you in the hotel. tell us about these guards and if you know who was giving them
6:09 pm
orders. >> reporter: they were clearly getting orders from their superiors. the thinking in the journalists is gadhafi and the eldest soften colonel gadhafi was -- we worked in the past when we have been at the normal circumstance when is the officials were there and the press minster was there and things like that. we continued to assume it was him who was giving the orders on our fate as well and what the people should do. for the most part, these guys who were in the lobby of the hotel, they had sniping rifles on the roof of the hotel. these were die-hard loyalists. many were pretty young. they had clash and they were angry about the situation.
6:10 pm
they believed in many ways that the international media was perpeduating a lie about libya. all along there has been this pin that the libyan governments with gadhafi have been international media is making this stuff up. the advance that is the rebels made in tripoli. the libyan government said that was a lie perpeduated by the media. the loyalists who were carrying those guns and keeping us captive in that hotel, very much prescribed to that point of view and what changed, while we were set free is that there was a gradual realization that in fact the reality of the world outside the hotel gates had become very different. libya had changed gadhafi was no longer in power. so when they realized that and accepted it, they dropped their
6:11 pm
weapons and handed the weapons over to us and set us free. >> for i take what you are saying correctly, you saw something of a met morphosis or change over the several days you were being kept from captors who felt they were in the command and control of colonel gadhafi to captors who realized he wasn't even around. so if you could sort of describe for me the change in attitude, if you will, of the captors over those days. >> reporter: that change in attitude came very suddenly. as far as we are aware, it came just today. it came a couple of hours before we were eventually set free. i just think it became unsustainable that this lie that was being put out and gadhafi controlled much of tripoli. that gadhafi had broken the back
6:12 pm
of the rebels fighting in various parts of the country. that was the government. that just became unsustainable in the face of the facts. in the face of the reality. that took a time in this kind of bubble that we're all trapped in together. the press corps and the captors, the gunmen. it took a while for the informs to keep into their level. when it did, the transformation was dramatic. it's interesting because when it came out that was hotel eventually, we were very elated and very happy. we have no injuries and no deaths. everyone was fine with a positive out come. in tripoli, we found many people are celebrating their freedom. we were kind of privately celebrating and all over the streets, there were gunshots being fired in the celebration.
6:13 pm
fireworks going off earlier. people out in the streets celebrating their freedom. there is this whole national sense of transformation. they are beginning to understand and they have already understood that no longer does gadhafi rule the country and he ruled it for 42 years. that's no longer the case. that produced this dramatic transformation in people's attitudes. in a small way we experienced that with the guards in the lobby of the hotel >> a very dicy several days. several with no sleep. we hope you get some. i can tell you this. we here at cnn are all celebrating your release. much more on the bitter chaos unfoaling in libya. at the airport near tripoli amid burning planes and vicious artillery fire. plus, a monster category three
6:14 pm
hurricane barrelling towards the united states's east coast. we are tracking irene's path. a washington, d.c. icon shut down indefinitely after yesterday's stunning earthquake. the latest on efforts to repair deep cracks in the washington monument. i still have a dream that one day on the red hills of georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. i have a dream today! [ male announcer ] chevrolet is honored to celebrate the unveiling of the washington, d.c., martin luther king jr. memorial. take your seat at the table on august 28th.
6:15 pm
look at all this stuff for coffee. oh there's tons. french presses, espresso tampers, filters. it can get really complicated. not nearly as complicated as shipping it, though. i mean shipping is a hassle. not with priority mail flat rate boxes from the postal service. if it fits it ships anywhere in the country for a low flat rate. that is easy. best news i've heard all day! i'm soooo amped! i mean not amped. excited. well, sort of amped. really kind of in between. have you ever thought about decaf? do you think that would help? yeah. priority mail flat rate shipping starts at just $4.95, only from the postal service. a simpler way to ship.
6:16 pm
6:17 pm
>> they have to cut a trillion and a half from the deficit over 10 years. that means the 12 lawmakers have to address the sensitive issues of entitlement programs and tax increases all coming up on an election year. so far the super committee has done -- wait for this -- nothing. in fact nobody knows where they are. political reporters these dedicated servants are enjoying the august congressional recess along with the rest of congress. they don't plan to even convene until after labor day. even though they are deadlined to come up with a trillion and a
6:18 pm
half in cuts is thanksgiving. several told politico they are willing it get to work sooner. don't hold your breath. one of the cochairs has been reaching out to every member, but so far the conversations are more introductory than substantive and no work on cutting the deficit or raising the taxes has been done. nothing. critics put a lot of pressure to make sure they get around to them. they are open to the public and transparent. one committee member said he is confident we will have public hearings. really? the same kind we had maybe with the health care reform bill. all put dog behind closed doors and out of the public view and rushed on to the floor for a vote. before congress knew what was in it. the law doesn't require the meetings of the super submitee be open to the public. other debt ceiling negotiations were held behind closed doors. it's your money, but your government would rather you not know what's being done with it.
6:19 pm
here's the question. what's the super committee waiting for? go to cnn.com/cafferty file to post a comment or "the situation room's" facebook page. joe? >> we shouldn't say they have a secret plan. >> for they do, it's a well-kept secret. i haven't heard a word about it. >> thanks so much. residents up and down the coast are bracing for hurricane irene now a category three is battering the bahamas this hour and could gain even more strength before it hits the united states. our meteorologist chad meyers is tracking the storm's path and the cnn hurricane headquarters people here in the bahamas with elevation of about 10 feet.
6:20 pm
they are seeing storm surges in the 15 foot range. water washing over their islands right now it's going to be a rough night and all the people that didn't get up out of the bahamas. you have been talking about a right hand turn that the storm was supposed to do. sometimes they just take their sweet time making that turn. that's the issue and the problem why we have a cone. if this thing turns tonight, the cone will be off to the right side. if this things a little bit longer to turn, out to sea and no problem. it's gone. takes a little longer to turn, it will be closer to the coast of florida and that's why there is this cone in the first place. look at this. 135 mile per hour storm off the coast of florida with battering waves even without the wind being close. the waves will be tremendous. a storm surge possible right
6:21 pm
through the carolinas even with a miss. that's a hit. half the storm potentially miss and it is other half potentially hits. right through into possibly new england. that's the hamptons. up into boston and maine before it's done. why the discrepancy? why can't we say it's going to go here? the computer models think they are right, but they're not. about every 12 hours, the models are about 20 miles wrong. so 20 miles and then another 20 miles and another 20 miles. by the time you drop 48 hours, you are 140 miles wrong one way or another. you put it in motion again and we are talking four days out, the wrong can be 200 miles either way. it can be out to sea or in new york city. this can be a big deal at 100
6:22 pm
miles per hour for them. that will do damage. >> thanks so much. that's a good graph take that this shows you all the possible variations. appreciate that. the u.s. military is getting ready for irene. the air force said it will move more than 20 war planes from an air base in outing eastern florida as the storm gets closer to the state. evacuation plans at another air base are pinned. no word from the navy or marine corps about their plan, but the pentagon said it is watching this storm very closely. burning planes and blasts from artillery in libya. at the airport near tripoli. plus, this is father's whereabouts remain a mystery, but one son is reaching out to our own nick robertson. details of what he wants to offer, next. a washington icon shut down in indefinitely. the latest on efforts to repair
6:23 pm
cracks and the washington monument after that stunning earthquake. nothing helped me beat arthritis pain. until i tried this. it's salonpas. pain relief that works at the site of pain... up to 12 hours. salonpas. [ male announcer ] they'll see you...before you see them. cops are cracking down on drinking and riding. drive sober, or get pulled over.
6:24 pm
6:25 pm
6:26 pm
>> groups of muammar gadhafi loyalists are refusing to give up the battle for tripoli and the fighting rebels in several areas of the capital and attacks on the tripoli airport are especially fierce. cnn is the only network having a journalist at the airport. live with details you will only hear on cnn. what's happening? >> reporter: >> this place has been getting
6:27 pm
pounded nonstop all day and well into the night and artillery are being fire and heavy machine gunfire as well playing on the tarmac and fought fire. there is a small explosion because of that. >> greater built last few days since we have been here. they are respecting mostly from the east. they do not hope. there two military bases located there and they don't control that highway running from the airport and looking to the capital of tripoli. the military manager believes because of the intensity of the attacks and because they are launched kmultly and coming at the complex from multiple locations that perhaps this is so that gadhafi loyalists can try to keep the groups clear, saying they could be trying to move gadhafi from tripoli
6:28 pm
through here. they believe they saw a convoy with a mercedes in it that could have been carrying him. they think he would be trying to move here. go south or loop around east of the capital. >> what you described is an intense search. should gadhafi appear somewhere near the airport. park are most certainly the fighters want to get out. they want to go and start combing through these areas. they really have been largely pinned down to a certain degree because this incoming artillery fire and they had to focus on trying to make sure that gadhafi forces do not breech this compound. they are struggling because they are telling us that the gadhafi forces have been using villages to the east of here as cover to launch the artillery and to launch their rockets. they say they have been unable
6:29 pm
to fire back. they also said that the concern for casualties will prevent them from firing and the big concern is while they are bogged down trying to defend this position, gadhafi could be moving through this area and he still participated. >> who is there at the airport with you? >> reporter: a fairly large number of rebel fighters. there around 500 plus. there some out from other unis around the country as well, but these are the fighters that pushed up and a bunch of them broke out and went to try to get west of tripoli. the rest of them came here to the airport and they have been launching the meigs, trying to go up and some of them were taking part and calling at this time rescue operations that saw
6:30 pm
those journalists released. they said they were the ones who managed to clear the area around the airport. they negotiate access and get those journalists out at the location. they are spread out throughout, but they are focusing efforts right now on trying to keep this compound safe. they are agreeing frustrated. we had the senior military commander coming through here, cursing gadhafi and the incoming artillery rounds. it has been pretty tough going for them at this airport complex. >> sounds like a very pressure-filled and intense situation there. thank you so much for that reporting. gadhafi's business man son is offering to negotiate a ceasefire in an e-mail exchange with cnn's nick robertson. he said he has the authority to broker a deal to stop tripoli from becoming "a sea of blood." no reaction from rebel leaders. joining us is middle east expert
6:31 pm
and senior fellow at the hoover institution. what do you make of this? isn't it a little late or too late for a ceasefire? >> absolutely. when someone like gadhafi or any of his sons asked for a ceasefire, you know it's the end. they have been defeat and they are on the run. i know the term has a mixed meaning, but the fights for libya is over. effectively over. there is a new libya. behind you, there is a flag of libya. what's interesting about this flag, this is the flag of the old monarchy. this is the flag of gadhafi and his fellow officers overthrew and turned the country into a hell. i think this regime is done. i think what remains is the mop up operation. >> if he is captured and certainly that's a big if. we have been asking for days f. he is captured, do i have a sense that there is a nucleus of
6:32 pm
people who would stand with him or is it that all done too? >> i don't think there many people with him. if you look at saddam hussein, he had the sunni community of iraq with him. it was a ruling community, but the minority was invested. if you take a look at syria, his own community is behind him. this man is the killer of our time. he is a predator and a cannibal in many ways and ruled with terror. when people rule with terror, they make a run for it. look at the fraud of the man. he talked about dying for his country. he fled. what he is now doing is looking for a spider. >> many people here in the united states, politicians have suggested that libya ought to be able to move or transition to a democracy. >> given what you see and what
6:33 pm
you know, is that a reasonable or realistic expectation? >> i don't know what really democracy would mean. they would have a good secular government. if you take a look at the people in this transition who observed them for quite a bit of time, we know something about them and the aspirations. we want a free country and a secular country. what's interesting is the head of the counsel, he was a minster of justice for gadhafi for a number of years. he is proposing to put himself on trial for the years 20 under gadhafi. the cast of character and a democracy
6:34 pm
>> what about gadhafi. if he is not captured, do you believe this rebel government can move forward and take control. he will continue if he is not captured. he continue in a way to taunt the regime. it depends on where he goes. does he go to chad? she close to the ruler. does he go to algeria? that's the 1 arab government that remains favorable to gadhafi. i think it depends on where he goes. if he is in libya itself, it won't be long before they get him. >> wherever he goes, wouldn't the rebel government, the government that takes over in libya eventually demand that he be brought back for trial? >> absolutely, but say for
6:35 pm
example he goes to venezuela. that's an interesting prospect. hugo chavez said he recognizes one government if he goes to venezuela and chavez is around and survives his cancer and his power is intact, he can remain in venezuela. this may sound frivolous, but not so far off. in venezuela they can put him in charge of beauty pageants. these are the kinds of things that gadhafi is interested in. he traveled everywhere as the do you means told us he is a pervert and he will come to a bad end. there may be one world that will have him. >> he has been effectively silenced? >> i think. >> that remains so? >> i think he is done. calling his people rats, while
6:36 pm
he himself is making a run for it, cursing his people and wishing them evil and all kinds of hell, it tells you what this man is about and what the poor population of libya, the luck they true this monster in 1969. the first year of the nixon pedestrian is when he came to power. they have endured him far too long. >> we're appreciate you giving us your views of what's happening. >> thank you, joe. >> a russian rocket blasts off that never makes it into orbit. we will tell you what happened coming up. a rare east coast earthquake leaves a lasting mark on the washington monument. what the damage means for tourists. and your facebook page just got a face-lift. the big change, next. you are in "the situation room."
6:37 pm
6:38 pm
an accident doesn't have to slow you down. with better car replacement, available only from liberty mutual insurance, if your car's totaled, we give you the money to buy a car that's one model-year newer... with 15,000 fewer miles on it. there's no other auto insurance product like it. better car replacement, available only from liberty mutual.
6:39 pm
it's a better policy that gets you a better car. call... or visit one of our local offices today, and we'll provide the coverage you need at the right price. liberty mutual auto insurance -- responsibility. what's your policy?
6:40 pm
breaking news now. cnn conferming that steve jobs the ceo of apple incorporated resigns his position. we do know he has been ill for sometime reportedly with pan cre attic cancer. the official statement coming out to cnn and other news organizations. steve jobs, the trail blazing ceo of apple has resigned. we will be hearing a lot more about that in the coming days. kate baldwin with the other top stories. >> other news we are following this hour, a russian space freighter carrying supplies for the space station has crashed. russian officials say the unmanned spacecraft went down in an area shortly after take off. crews are headed to the crash site to assess damage on the ground. officials say there enough supplies on board the space station to last until the next
6:41 pm
mission in october. rattled nerves after a strong earthquake. the 6.8 magnitude quake was centered 150 miles from lima with brazil. so far no reports of injuries or damage. that's good news so far. facebook is making major changes to its privacy settings. when users add content like a photo or comment or profile information, facebook asked them who should get access to it. friends or a specific group of friends? before users had to navigate confusing setting pages and the changes follow the launch of google plus, a rival social network that has similar and straight forward settings. google is paying out a half billion to settle a lawsuit. justice officials say google illegally allowed pharmacies to advertise prescription drugs to
6:42 pm
consumers in the u.s. the $500 million settlement, one of the largest in the u.s. is equivalent to what they made for selling the ads and the revenue pharmacies made from the sales >> the different drugs or companies. >> i highly drought that. >> the facebook story, doesn't it seem like they change it every week? >> seems to be changes all the time. there so many users of facebook they have to be modifying, but people did explain about how to let people know who was going to get access to what. we will see how this goes. >> thanks so much. split second decisions at a plant near the center of that east coast earthquake. we will take you inside the facility and show you exactly what happened when the quake hit. plus monumental quake damage to an iconic washington structure. you are in "the situation room"
6:43 pm
6:44 pm
6:45 pm
again, our breaking news story at this hour, steve jobs, the ceo of the iconic apple
6:46 pm
incorporated has announced he has resigned. we got ahold of his letter of resignation and i want to read that to you at this time. it says i have always said that if there ever came a day when i can no longer meet my duties and expectations as apple's ceo. i would be the first to let you know. that day has come. i here by resign and he asked to serve if the board sees fit as chairman and an apple employee. as far as his successor goes, he asked that they name tim cook as the ceo. i believe the most brightest and innovative days of ahead of it. i look forward to contributing to success in a new role. i made some of the best friends of my life in apple and i thank you for being able to work alongside you. an iconic american company that had so much influence in this computer industry all over the world.
6:47 pm
joining me now on the television is cnn's dan simon. dan, you picked this information up. what are you hearing? >> well, we confirmed the news that jobs is stepping down. the timing is surprising on this. we had no indication that this day was going to come so soon. it really begs the question, what is the state of steve jobs' health at this moment. we know he had taken a leave of absence to deal with some significant health issues. he had a bout of pancreatic cancer and speculation that the cancer had returned and that was never confirmed. then he may have had a liver transplant. this begs the question of what does his health look like. as far as the timing again, apple had never really been in better shape so it would make sense to go ahead and name a new
6:48 pm
ceo at this particular juncture, given the fact that the company is doing extraordinarily well. tim cook it was announced by the company who was the chief operating officer will take over. apple is the world's biggest technology company in terms of revenue and earnings. it even took over the top spot for companies around the world and overtaking exxon for a brief time. in terms of sisuccession plan, they are in good shape. bringing us up to date on that. watching that closely. split second decisions at a nuclear plant near the story of that east coast earthquake. we will take you inside the facility and show you exactly what happened when the quake hit
6:49 pm
blap   
6:50 pm
6:51 pm
much of the east coast is still reeling after yesterday's shocking earthquake. our brian todd is not far from the epicenter of the quake, where an automatic shutdown was triggered at a nuclear plant. brian?
6:52 pm
>> reporter: joe, this plant has now canceled its emergency declarations and stood down from its alert status, but as we found out inside this facility, there were some very tense moments right after the earthquake. dan stoddard said he hates to see his nuclear plant like this, not because there's danger he says, he just hates to see his plant not producing power. it could be worse. stoddard, a top nuclear official with dominion virginia power took us inside the north anna facility to show us what it was like when a "once in a century" earthquake struck centered just a few miles from here. we're at a simulated control room at north anna, where they train the reactors to run the reactor, dan stoddard will show us the moment the earthquake hit and they lost offsite power, dan? >> they recognized they had an earthquake and they were moving toward the manual shutdown switches to shut down the reactor. at that point they experienced a
6:53 pm
loss of offsite power and we'll see what that looked like for the operators. >> reporter: clearly an emergency. so, what do they do then? >> as i said, they would go to the reactor trip switch. go to manual shut down the unit each reactor. >> reporter: this is the key switch to shut down the reactor? >> that's right. less than two seconds the reactor is shut down. >> reporter: the shutdown was triggered automatically. while the ground shook, stoddard was down the hall. he says he initially thought something had happened with one of the turbine generators. >> i was down in the control room probably within two to three minutes of the earthquake. >> reporter: was there real fear? >> no. there were a number of personnel in the control room, some additional personnel, operations personnel had come to the control room, but the operators were very calm. very professional. >> reporter: but it was still a crisis. now the reactors are shut down and there's no timetable for when they'll return. a backup generator powering cooling systems malfunctioned. nuclear watchdogs say that's a
6:54 pm
concern. stoddard said there were plenty of backups and there's been no leakage of radioactivity. then there are appearances. what you're seeing over here is an event that only happens when there's a reactor shutdown, while it sounds very ominous. dan, is this as ominous as it looks? >> no, not at all, brian. what this is, this is secondary cooling for the reactor. that is not water from the reactor cooler system which is all contained in the concrete domes you see. this is secondary steam that we're using to cool down both of the units to what we call a cold shutdown to less than 200 degrees. >> reporter: stoddard said that's nonradioactive water that does not come into contact with any radioactive equipment. he says it never entered his mind that this could be another fukushima, because of how the system worked to take down sose react those reactors and get emergency backup power running and he said he always had confidence in the design of this plant, joe? >> brian todd, that's certainly good news for anybody living anywhere near that nuclear power
6:55 pm
plant. appreciate that report. jack cafferty is asking, what is the supercommittee waiting for? your e-mails ahead. go-gurt? yep...doh. [ boy ] slurpably fun and a good source of calcium. dads who get it, get go-gurt. [ boy ] slurpably fun and a good source of calcium. ♪ priceis it true thata-tor. name your own price.... >>...got even easier? affirmative. we'll show you other people's winning hotel bids.
6:56 pm
>>so i'll know how much to bid... ...and save up to 60% >>i'm in i know see winning hotel bids now at priceline. oh, we call it the bundler. let's say you need home and auto insurance. you give us your information once, online... [ whirring and beeping ] [ ding! ] and we give you a discount on both. great! did i mention no hands in the bundler? bundling and saving made easy. now, that's progressive. call or click today.
6:57 pm
if something is simply the color of gold, is it really worth more? we don't think so. chase sapphire preferred is a card of a different color. unlike others, you get twice the points on travel, and twice the points on dining, and no foreign transaction fees. call now or apply at chasesapphire.com/preferred. time now to check back with
6:58 pm
jack cafferty. jack? >> all right, joe, the question this hour, what's that supercommittee, the congressional one that's supposed to cut the deficit, what are they waiting for? bob writes, they're busy working on their tans so they can look good in those public hearings they promised. when they do get around to meeting, i think if you're rich, you'll be fine. the rest of us, not so much. the old saying he who has the gold rules has never been more appropriate to our democratic form of government. simon in florida writes, like the scarecrow, lion and tin man in the "wizard of oz" they're still out looking for brains, courage and a heart, and the wizard is in martha's vineyard. bert in el monte, california, be patient, jack, supercommittee members not a mere senator or representative. those global corporate constituents, big oil, securities, investment, pharmaceutical firms which control congress at the local level, they need more time to talk supercorporate free speech, money. tom writes, the republicans have sworn to say no, so it doesn't
6:59 pm
matter if they ever meet. nothing will come of it. in the clinton years we had a surplus. bush cut the taxes for the rich, we have a deficit. the correct answer to our economy is to end the bush tax cuts for the superrich and the republican answer is no. tisha on facebook, the supercommittee is waiting for the highest bidder. angie writes, the supercommittee will wait until the very last minute to present their plan because the longer americans have to vet it, the more likely is it will sink. washington runs on brinksmanship. and michael in mexico says, it's not a fast-food driveup window, jack, it's congress. give the souffle time to rise. if you want to read more on this, you can go to my blog, cnn.com/caffertyfi cnn.com/caffertyfile, post a comment there or go to the facebook place where we have something as well. joe, you've done a terrific job as usual. it's always a pleasure when you fill in for the wolfman. >> well, thanks, jack. and he deserves a little time off, he's the hardest-working man in show business. >> indeed he is. all right, i'm joe johns in
left
right